Man channels Weird Norfolk to pen folklore collection

Chris Spalton, author and illustrator of the Apparitions of East Anglia. Picture: Danielle Booden

Chris Spalton, author and illustrator of the Apparitions of East Anglia. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

A software designer has channelled the spirit of Weird Norfolk by penning a book of the region's spookiest folklore tales.

Chris Spalton, 41 and from Norwich, has spent the past year exploring some of the eeriest tales from Norfolk, Suffolk and The Fens, using lockdown as motivation to bring a longheld ambition to live.

Mr Spalton, who ordinarily commutes to work in Cambridge, found himself gifted with hours of time back every day after beginning to work at home.

And the recovered time allowed him to dedicate himself to a project that had long interested him - a collection of weird and wonderful tales of East Anglian folklore.

Inspired by Weird Norfolk, he set about using his daily exercise during lockdown to explore some of the less-trodden parts of the region and learning about the legendary stories behind them.

Chris Spalton, author and illustrator of the Apparitions of East Anglia. Picture: Danielle Booden

Chris Spalton, author and illustrator of the Apparitions of East Anglia. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden


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From the witches of North Walsham to Black Shuck the demon dog, Mr Spalton set about respinning the yarns of years gone by, in a book which began as simply illustrations from his walks.

He said: "I think growing up in the Fens has meant I've always been fascinated by all things weird and writing a book has been at the back of mind for quite some time.

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"With so many things closed down over the past year going for walks has become a much bigger part of my life and I love learning about the places I visited."

Mr Spalton became fascinated by the tales behind the places he visited with his girlfriend and originally began illustrating the sights he took in.

However, the project soon evolved and he started adding words to his drawings and eventually, Apparitions of East Anglia was born.

Apparitions of East Anglia written and illustrated by Chris Spalton. Picture: Danielle Booden

Apparitions of East Anglia written and illustrated by Chris Spalton. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Among the stories he tells is the tale of an East Somerton woman with a wooden leg who was executed after being accused of being a witch - with legend having it that a tree sprouted from the limb, destroying the church of the community that prosecuted her.

He said: "That one is a particular favourite of mine, a classic tale of revenge being a dish best served cold."

Apparitions of East Anglia is available to pre-order from https:/gum.co/eastangliaapp.

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